Off The Pot

George Bush, after months of hedging around the issue, finally declares his wholehearted support for amending the US Constitution to deny equal rights to a discrete group of his fellow citizens. Andrew Sullivan – with all the pain of the personally betrayed – puts it this way:

“The president launched a war today against the civil rights of gay citizens and their families. And just as importantly, he launched a war to defile the most sacred document in the land. Rather than allow the contentious and difficult issue of equal marriage rights to be fought over in the states, rather than let politics and the law take their course, rather than keep the Constitution out of the culture wars, this president wants to drag the very founding document into his re-election campaign. He is proposing to remove civil rights from one group of American citizens – and do so in the Constitution itself. The message could not be plainer: these citizens do not fully belong in America. Their relationships must be stigmatized in the very Constitution itself. The document that should be uniting the country will now be used to divide it, to single out a group of people for discrimination itself, and to do so for narrow electoral purposes. Not since the horrifying legacy of Constitutional racial discrimination in this country has such a goal been even thought of, let alone pursued. Those of us who supported this president in 2000, who have backed him whole-heartedly during the war, who have endured scorn from our peers as a result, who trusted that this president was indeed a uniter rather than a divider, now know the truth.”

I know. He should have known it earlier. But there you go.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.
36 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
bargarz
2021 years ago

This constitutional tactic smacks of wholesale demonisation. It threatens to perpetually entrench and marginalise a portion of society as second class citizens.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

I agree. It’s disgraceful and profoundly depressing (if not surprising). What’s even more depressing is that it might well succeed. I noticed mention of a survey in the media last week showing that something like 71% of Americans believed in the literal truth of the biblical creation myth, and an only slightly lower proportion believed that Moses parted the Red Sea etc. If that’s a measure of the muddle-headed christian belief systems of the majority of Americans, maybe Bush really can secure a constitutional amendment against gays. Even if he doesn’t, it’s an electoral wedge tactic that even John Howard and Mark Textor would admire, and are no doubt even now trying to emulate. Of course, Howard will need to find some other emotive fifth order importance wedge issue, because Australia remains a much more relaxed and tolerant place than the US, with a miniscule fundamentalist christian component (thank God if he/she/it exists).

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2021 years ago

With respect M’lord Ken until quite recently no-one imagined these ‘civil rights’ existed.

Now it is being stated these rights exist most US people wish to prescribe them. I would imagine the founders would have done so originally if they ever thought this issue would have arisen.

I must admit I do find it interesting so see tolerant bloggers become intolerant on some issues.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

I’m assuming you mean “proscribe” Homer, unless you’ve been popping in to your local Gay Recruitment Agency.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

As Tim Dunlop points out, the key para in Bush’s speech runs as follows:

“Marriage cannot be severed from its cultural, religious and natural roots without weakening the good influence of society. Government, by recognizing and protecting marriage, serves the interests of all. Today I call upon the Congress to promptly pass, and to send to the states for ratification, an amendment to our Constitution defining and protecting marriage as a union of man and woman as husband and wife. The amendment should fully protect marriage, while leaving the state legislatures free to make their own choices in defining legal arrangements other than marriage.”

Does the last sentence exemplify the cynical vote-wedging sham this “constitutional amendment” is, or what?

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

Homer,

I’m a bit bemused to say the least to be accused of “intolerance” for supporting Geoff Honnor’s views on Bush’s disgraceful wedging exercise. I suppose you could reasonably view me as intolerant of intolerance, in other words intolerant of those who wish to impose their religious views on others and insist that only those whose sexuality they approve may avail themselves of the institution of marriage. If that’s what you mean by intolerance, I’m happy to confess.

As for the point that “until quite recently no-one imagined these ‘civil rights’ existed”, of course the same was true of the right not be enslaved in the US until the Civil War. And numerous civil rights now accepted as quite basic weren’t recognised at all, even in the US, until its Supreme Court started taking a more expansive view of the Bill of Rights starting in the 1950s. So unless you hold the view that society must remain immutably barbaric in perpetuity, your argument is completely unpersuasive.

You have every right to a personal moral code that regards homosexuality as wrong (if that’s what you believe), but no right at all to impose that view on others, and in particular to deny the intimate relationships of gays exactly the same legal protections as heterosexual marriage. In fact it seems that Bush himself doesn’t even disagree with this. He seems just to be pandering to the religious right in the US by proposing that gay unions be denied the label “marriage” while enjoying most if not all the same legal protections. It’s a stupid, mean-spirited exercise in divisive tokenism.

peggy sue
peggy sue
2021 years ago

I can’t say that I support gay marriage –
we should actually get honest and abolish the legal idea of marriage.

If two people want to share their lives, then they should be able to make a civil partnership, and sort out between themselves how they want to arrange it.

My point is, that in this day of ‘non-discrimination’ two people who have sex with one another should be treated exactly the same at law as two people who do not have sex with each other.

If man and woman want to share, let them;
If man and man want to share, let them;
If woman and woman want to share, let them;
BUT
they should be treated at law in exactly the same way as the law currently treats a mother and son, or a father and daughter, or a brother and sister, or a brother and brother, or a sister and sister who share.

If two people want a partnership – go ahead, consult a lawyer, draw up a partnership agreement – and stick to it.

The push for gay marriage is naturally mostly about money, about enlisting the power of the state to help me get my loved one’s cash, property and superannuation when either love dies, or loved one dies.

Currently most gays in Australia are financially better off “single”. A lesbian couple with a child can have one partner on Parenting Payment Single at the top rate regardless of the other’s income and assets, while the other partner has full access to NewStart (etc) under single conditions.
If they have a child each, they can both get full Parenting Payment Single, and all the attached concessions.

They would be much better off than a hetero couple with children because the Parenting Payment Partnered is less, the rent assistance is less, the concessions are fewer and the income test much more severe.

Similarly, with gay men. If one loses his job, his partner’s income and assets won’t affect his social security payments.

This is one area where the law severely penalised hetero couples.
As I understand it, Social Security Law is specifically excluded from Anti-discrimination legislation.

peggy sue
peggy sue
2021 years ago

So unless you hold the view that society must remain immutably barbaric in perpetuity, your argument is completely unpersuasive.

The Constitution of the US has, like the Australian, an inbuilt method of amendment.

Article V sets out the method –
two-thirds of both houses of Congress support the amendment,
and the legislatures in three-quarters of the states ratify it.

There have been 27 amendments, the most recent in 1992.

So neither the Constitution, nor the barbarity is immutable.

bargarz
2021 years ago

Two such amendments proscribed slavery and gave women the vote. So Back to the Forefathers Future hardly stands up as a valid argument to ban gay marriage IMO.

Insofar as I’m not a Yank, I’d say the best solution by far is to leave it up to the States rather than to apply the blunt instrument of a Constitutional ban.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

“Similarly, with gay men. If one loses his job, his partner’s income and assets won’t affect his social security payments.”

Correct Peggy Sue, and if the state refuses to legitimate my relationship, why should they be milking it as if it were? I’m surprised that some Treasury boffin hasn’t already come up with the brilliant concept of gay marriage in the eyes of ATO – if not of the state – but there you are.

I yearn to contribute to Costello’s coffers on a partnered basis but – hey! He won’t let me.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

Whoops, forgot to respond here:

“The push for gay marriage is naturally mostly about money, about enlisting the power of the state to help me get my loved one’s cash, property and superannuation when either love dies, or loved one dies.”

Nope, though it’s certainly in there. The major reason – from my perspective – is that the state has no business perpetuating a legally privileged relationship construct that deliberately, emphatically and eternally excludes the relationships of homosexual citizens who would wish to participate, contribute and be honoured therein. If it’s good enough for Britney Spears, peggy sue……

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2021 years ago

Homer, Homer, Homer

Others have dealt with your ridiculous notion that what the US forefathers thought was right should hold for all time.

But if we’re to subject the US constitution to scriptural exegesis to decide what should be in it in the 21st century, how about careful consideration these words, which are found in its preamble, and summarised the objectives of the founders of the United States

“life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

That’s all gay people who want to marry are looking for. They don’t want to buggar you or your children. And you want to deny them this happiness. Why? Because you’ve been brain washed by some crap you learned in sunday school, written by some ancient bigot.

Here’s some free advice. Don’t try and impose your twisted views beyond your own little circle.

Norman
Norman
2021 years ago

The way people tend to “think” is quite interesting. If they disapprove of something a leader is attempting to do, he is unprincipled and dividing the community. If, however they approve, he’s making a brave and principled stand. Aren’t humans interesting?

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

Ummm..I think that this is quite normal human behaviour Norman. I assume you’re not offering it as an original insight, or anything….?:)

James Russell
James Russell
2021 years ago

I must admit I do find it interesting so see tolerant bloggers become intolerant on some issues.

Since you’ve obviously failed to observe what the issue actually is, Homer, let me remind you: George W. Bush believes an amendment should be made to the Constitution of the United States sanctioning discrimination against a subset of the population of that country, one of whose other founding documents states that “all men are created equal”. Perhaps you’d like to tell us where you actually stand on the issue in question rather than merely offer smug remarks on the (in)tolerance of bloggers?

Al Bundy
Al Bundy
2021 years ago

Hmm,

The whole gay rights thing has no traction with me whatsoever. On the one hand, I don’t think the state should be meddling in people’s personal affairs. On the other, marriage is a state institution. Whatever…

No. It is the so called ‘wedge politics’ that interest me.

I have the dubious privilege of living in Canberra. Here the Stanhope Kleptocracy has vigorously promoted an agenda of gay, lesbian and trans-gendered rights. This recently culminated in legislative changes to allow gay and lesbian couples to adopt children. This action now looks set to be overturned by the Federal Government.

Now the question is: Just who is playing ‘wedge politics’? Did Jon Stanhope – erstwhile Chief Minister, a lawyer, one time senior public servant, and all round smartass – not foresee that Howard might use his federal prerogative to apply the conservative brake to such radical social change? Would Stanhope have pulled the same trick if the ALP were incumbent under the big flag pole in the lead up to what could prove to be a tight election?

Is anybody else seeing some parallels with the US yet? All these years under Grey Davis, and ultra-liberal San Francisco suddenly finds the need to recognise same sex marriages – just after Arnie takes the helm. Now California’s governor is being portrayed as the boogey man in city vs states rights. Who’s playing ‘wedge politics’? For my mind it’s all those small ‘L’ liberals whose sudden fire for homosexual rights says more about their desire to embarrass conservative governments than it does any deeply profound sense of social justice.

Remember that King George the IInd was elected PRIOR to the war on terror. He did that with a constituency that was deeply conservative and deeply Christian (read God fearing, creationist, barn raisin’ type Christian). The man himself is a born-again. What position were you expecting Dubya to adopt when faced with the challenge of gay and lesbian marriage in Canada, and open revolt in San Francisco? So again, what’s with these accusations of ‘wedge politics’? I think it would be more appropriate to say that Bush was getting back to his grass roots.

Having just copped a 30 minute ear bashing from my wife for not sympathising with the good burghers of Redfern, and failing to recognise that poverty and racism were responsible for the riots etc etc…sigh. Why on earth seriously want to get married is utterly beyond me at the moment. Be careful what you wish for…

Al

peggy sue
peggy sue
2021 years ago

This recently culminated in legislative changes to allow gay and lesbian couples to adopt children.

This strikes me as being pure political grandstanding.

The combination of pensions for single parents, abortion and better contraception means that there are very few children for adoption, and couples have to wait for years.

We no longer have orphanages bulging with babies.

My own (hopelessly old-fashioned, reactionary and conservative) view is that adoption should about providing the *child* with a normal family.

Some of those celebrity adoptions seem to be more about providing the celebrity with a fashion accessory.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

My old-fashioned, reactionary and conservative view is that kids need love, support, protection, encouragement and security on an ongoing basis, peggy sue. Many “normal” families provide it, many don’t. It’s maybe not so much about the sexuality or gender set-up of the caregivers so much as it is about their ability to provide the parenting quality required on an ongoing basis.

Would you care to be specific about which “of those celebrity adoptions seem to be more about providing the celebrity with a fashion accessory?”

I remember John Howard raising this concern at the time of the IVF debate but I’m completely unaware of a single “celebrity fashion accessory adoption” having ever occurred. I’m ready to be enlightened :)

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

Geoff,

I suspect Peggy Sue is talking about the US, where there do seem to have been one or two celebrity adoptions of the sort she mentions. I don’t think it happens here, as far as I know.

Peggy Sue’s principal argument, however, needs to be addressed. She’s quite right that adoption should be about the needs of the child being paramount, rather than the needs/wants of the adoptive parents for a baby. However, that isn’t incompatible with gay couples being eligible to adopt. It simply says that no adoptive parent has a “right” to adopt a child. Indeed, as Peggy Sue notes, there are very few children available for local (Australian) adoption these days. Even if gay couples are eligible to adopt in all states and territories, it’s unlikely most will ever get a child.

Moreover, decisions between prospective adoptive parents should still always be made on the basis of the interests of the child being paramount. That’s where some element of evaluation will occur that some gays will inevitably label as ‘discrimination’. It’s undoubtedly the case that, all other things being equal, a child is better off with parents who can provide both male and female role models. There’s plenty of research showing that. Thus it’s likely that more children will continue to be placed with heterosexual couples. Fortunately, however, things are not always equal and a particular gay couple may be able to offer particular children the best combination of qualities for that child. However, we can confidently anticipate lots of controversy about such questions. That’s one of the reasons why most states and territories have until now shied away from gay adoption or allowing adoption decisions to be subject to anti-discrimination legislation.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

No problem with any of that Ken. I do however have a bit of an issue with this oft-repeated mantra of celebrity “trophy child” adoption. Like snuff movies, satanic childcare centre cults, Britney Speirs’ virginity and the healing properties of aromatherapy I strongly suspect that the “phenomenon” is 99% bullshit. The only case that even comes close – that I’m aware of – is Michael Jackson’s. And he’s the natural father of his kids – scarily enough.

Of course, I’m entirely open to reviewing my position should peggy sue, or any other contributer, provide me with some evidence.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2021 years ago

M’lord Ken, given you like the word fundamentalist I suggest you read this. It is the best short paper on the word I have found.
http://www.religousmovements.lib.virginia.edu/nrms/fund.html
It is funny how I want to impose my views on society but you don’t!

James, Society has always discriminated when it comes to marriage for example a brother and sistet cannot marry.

Dave, it is interesting how a person who can be so witty and erudire on most matters can turn into a Junkyard dog, I have never gone to Sunday School.

David J
David J
2021 years ago

It’s interesting how quickly Sullivan saw the light once he was affected by Bush’s decisions. He has been happy to tell others to take their medicine for the good of the country/world until now.

Having just shelled out for three wedding presents, marriage seems to me to be little more than a good way to rob friends and relatives of precious money and Saturdays in order to grab everyone’s attention for a day. Why any considerate couple would indulge in such antisocial behaviour is beyond me, but I see no reason why gay people should have any less right to inflict their greed on others than heteros.

Previously I thought it wasn’t unreasonable to allow gay marriage but call it something different, but I’m inclined to agree with Geoff that this too is unfair. Instead, maybe the various anti-gay churches can come up with a new, straight-christians-only word for marriage that gay folk won’t aspire to”

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

Missionary position licence?

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

“James, Society has always discriminated when it comes to marriage for example a brother and sistet cannot marry.”

Well yes Homer, but there’s the odd bit of evidence that seems to support the idea that if brothers and sisters reproduce together, the risk of problematic genetic outcomes is greatly increased. For that reason, all human societies have taken a dim view of the practice. You’ll be pleased to hear that homosexuals have cunningly contrived to avoid this particular pitfall.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2021 years ago

“For that reason, all human societies have taken a dim view of the practice.”

Except Tasmania.

But on this particular question, Homer, I agree with you. Homesexual brothers (or sisters) should not be allowed to marry each other.

Homosexual first cousins: maybe.

peggy sue
peggy sue
2021 years ago

if brothers and sisters reproduce together, the risk of problematic genetic outcomes is greatly increased. For that reason, all human societies have taken a dim view of the practice.

Not all human societies! The ancient Egyptian royals used to have brother and sister marriage.

Then there is the case of Abraham and Sarah.
When Abraham went to Egypt he claimed that his wife Sarah was his sister.

Al Bundy
Al Bundy
2021 years ago

Geoff,

Try Calista Flockhart, Rosie O’Donnell and Diane Keaton for ‘trophy adoptions’.

O’Donnell went a step further by emphasising her lesbianism, and sticking it to…wait for it, Bush (Jeb that is, GOP Gov Florida). Her actions highlighted the farcical inconsistency of gay adoption laws across US states. But was it in the interest of the child?

I know it’s kind of off-thread, but I note that barely has the ink dried on the gay adoption bill here in the ACT, and I’m already seeing posters appearing at my daughter’s day care centre exhorting kids to understand and respect that “Some Kids Have Two Mums” complete with picture of stereotypical cropped hair, bib and brace overall-wearing Mum and, er, Mum.

To which I immediately think, “Yeah, and some kids have got none, others have one mum, others a step mum, and others might be in the care of a guardian. These other groups don’t warrant the Canberra ratepayers’ dollars in publicity shots. I guess they must be less important.”

Anyway, like I said, homosexuality is a non-issue with me. Gay marriage is not something I would vote for or against. Start talking to me about bracket creep and marginal rates, and I’ll wade in for a brawl. It’s just that the ACT’s serial onanist of a Chief Minister has bought into the issue of gay rights – and his hokey brand of mock sincerity, political opportunism and chardonnay socialism is sure to set me offside.

Al

mark
2021 years ago

Of course, peggy sue, there are always stories of royalty (not just from the ancient Egyptians, either) who consist mostly of teeth.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

“Not all human societies! The ancient Egyptian royals used to have brother and sister marriage.”

Which might well assist in explaining the demise of the ancient Egyptian royals…

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

“Try Calista Flockhart, Rosie O’Donnell and Diane Keaton for ‘trophy adoptions’.”

The immediate problem here, Al, is that all three would vehemently deny that they were motivated by anything other than love and compassion and would offer that their respective kids are surrounded by a munificence of love and support. Notwithstanding that Rosie is a major flake :)

I think you’d also have to acknowledge the inherent subjectivity of assessment here. Many of those making the assessment, inevitably do so from a place not unrelated to perceptions about “celebrities,” envy and the lush growth of tall poppies.

I hear you on the relentless do-goodism of Stanhopean Canberra but all things must pass. When I was a kid in Canberra, we were ground under the boot-heel of the all-powerful National Capital Development Commission. I well remember the terrifying screams in the night when NCDC stormtroopers would invade residences that had failed to plant the correct number and type of plants in their gardens. The mass shootings of those who had failed to maintain their nature strips – or worse: had attempted to erect a fence, haunt me still.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2021 years ago

I cannot comment on whether Busg is ‘wedging; with this issue as I am not close enough to the scene but I do know he has always been consistent on this issue and following the Supreme court of Massa(You know how it is spelled , up in the north East) decision he HAD to say something.

I do know there is no groundswell of opinion for this in the US indeed quite the opposite both from the ‘religious’ and the secular.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

“I cannot comment on whether Busg is ‘wedging; with this issue as I am not close enough to the scene but I do know he has always been consistent on this issue and following the Supreme court of Massa(You know how it is spelled , up in the north East) decision he HAD to say something.

I do know there is no groundswell of opinion for this in the US indeed quite the opposite both from the ‘religious’ and the secular.”

The change here, Homer, is that he’s now decided to throw his Presidential weight directly behind a proposal to amend the Constitution. Up until now he’s hedged his bets with vague comments about activist judges needing to be subordinate to the peoples’ legislatively expressed will, etc.

As things stand currently, there’s an existing federal Defence of Marriage Act (initiated by Bill Clinton) and around 39 states have separately legislated to protect the traditional concept of marriage. Unlike in Australia, the various states in the US retain the right to define marriage as they separately and severally see fit. Some states – Massachusetts being one – are still grappling with the issue and Vermont, singularly thus far, has legislated to permit civil unions. So, why would the President – a Republican, whose party traditionally upholds states rights – now seek to over-ride all this state-based legislative energy in order to promote a Federal Marriage Amendment?
Not one of the likely Democrat contenders supports gay marriage – though they do support civil unions – and none of them supports the FMA

A FMA would take years to transit through the Congress and state approval process and while you’re right about polls pointing to a minority supporting gay marriage, it’s not at all clear that that would automatically translate into support for a constitutional amendment. It’s more likely to be the reverse.

So the President has political room to manouevre by painting his opponents as pro gay marriage – while not having to deliver on his case before the election – thereby grabbing for the sort of blue collar Democrat who might – like PJK – think that two guys and a cocker spaniel does not a family make.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2021 years ago

My observation is that He had to act given the M Supreme Court’s activvism that would make Krny proud.
If not for that intervention we would be talking about another topic

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2021 years ago

My observation is that He had to act given the M Supreme Court’s activvism that would make Kirby proud.
If not for that intervention we would be talking about another topic

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

“My observation is that He had to act given the M Supreme Court’s activvism that would make Kirby proud. If not for that intervention we would be talking about another topic”

My point was that he didn’t. The Massachusetts legislature was already dealing with it – as he had earlier stated that they should. One is left to draw one’s conclusion as to why he then upped the ante. Is one not?

trackback
2021 years ago

“God hates fags” to be added to US constitution

As Geoff notes, noted gay Catholic Bush-booster Andrew Sullivan has finally realised W. evidently neither needs nor wants his support, not after that bit about Constitutionally outlawing gay marriage. And Dave Tepper is righteously pissed: I used to be…